Chilco Street, looking north from lane between Barclay Street and Nelson Street, about 1910, Vancouver Public Library Accession Number: 7167

Chilco Street, looking north from lane between Barclay Street and Nelson Street, about 1910, Vancouver Public Library Accession Number: 7167

This site is about the history of the West End in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada, starting in the late 1800s and running to about 1920. It deals mostly with the West of Denman area, which runs from Denman Street on the east to Stanley Park on the west, and from Coal Harbour on the north to English Bay on the south.

People have been living in this area for a long time. The earliest residents were already here when the Europeans arrived. More recently, there were explorers, followed by traders and then by settlers from all over the world. This site deals mostly with the people who arrived in the West of Denman area after the official creation of the City of Vancouver in 1886, along with the houses and the other buildings that appeared in the area. In many cases, I have included information on siblings and other relatives, as well as descendants; however, I haven’t tried to include all relatives or descendants to current times.

As in most neighbourhoods, there are stories of hope and achievement, along with those of tragedy and disappointment. A few stories are well-known, sometimes in more than one version; some parts of these stories may or may not be completely true. Most of the stories have been known, if at all, only to family and close friends.

Most of the earliest buildings in the neighbourhood have disappeared, but there are many sources of information about these buildings, their designers, and their occupants. Some buildings were quite famous, at least for part of their lives; many were anonymous from beginning to end. Some buildings were significant examples of the work of architects and builders of the time; others were based on pattern books or other common plans. Some people drew their own plans.

For the entry on each person and each building, I have reviewed various sources of information. Some sources are primary materials, such as birth, marriage and death records, census materials, military records, and similar types of information. Other sources are less direct, including newspaper accounts, directories, area photographs, survey plans, and fire insurance maps.

Every source is potentially useful, but some sources are more reliable than others. People may be mistaken, or they may have particular ways of looking at things. Sometimes people simply perpetuate rumours or mistaken impressions that they have heard from others. Sometimes people deliberately tell inaccurate stories, for a variety of reasons.

I have attempted to provide online source references if they are available. I have also included references to traditional sources. Unfortunately, some original sources are not clear. I have tried to use the best available copies. From time to time, some online links may not work, although I will try to keep them current or provide alternatives if they are available.

Although I have tried to present information that I believe is correct, I can’t guarantee that everything is completely accurate. If you want to be sure about any information, the best approach is to look at the original sources yourself.



A selected bibliography appears on this page: Selected Annotated Bibliography.


Robert Moen

16 thoughts on “About

  1. Hi, I discovered your wonderful blog when I was researching Albert Edward Lewis and Herbert Charles Drummond, both of whom were married to my great-great aunt, Helen Frances Bagg. See my blog, writinguptheancestors.blogspot.ca. My last two posts were about her grandmother.
    Janice Hamilton, Montreal

  2. Hi, Robert,

    A great site — and I congratulate you on the detail of your citations. I added a bit of information about George Westerfield Barker (son of William Henry Barker) to that part of the blog. I’ve got a LOT more information about WHB’s family and ancestors (he was my great-grandmother’s oldest brother–one of 5) if any of your blogreaders are interested.

  3. re Wilfred Ernest Norman and wife Edith Martha Simons of Langley, BC – their daughter was Marjorie Edith Norman who married Frank Ernest Stott (not Potts) and lived in Auckland, Zealand, then Gold Coast, Queensland Australia, where she died in 2008

    • Hello Barbara,

      Thank you for this information, and for noticing the mis-spelling of Frank Stott’s surname. I have updated the page on Wilfred Ernest Norman.


  4. Thanks again for the excellent research.

    Re John McKinnon and his building at Granville at Hastings: he sold to Frederick de la Fontaine Williams in 1900 – see The Prospector, Oct 5, 1900, page 1 article in the UBC Historic Newspaper collection.

  5. Your reach has helped us start to explore more details about the Crisp family. Thank you so much.
    Colin FG Crisp and C John Crisp, Victoria BC. Grandson and Great Grandson of Fredrick George Crisp and Anne (Gow Crisp)

  6. Hi Robert,

    Thank you so much for creating this. I stumbled upon it while searching for information about my great grandparents (Herchmer “Harry” Sherwood & Dorothy Hulme). It’s been incredible learning more about both families early roots in Vancouver, where their children, grandchildren and great grandchildren have continued to live and grow up.

  7. Hi Robert, i was searching for a maternity hospital where my grandmother (Olive Ruthven Foster,b. 1907) was born when I found your website. I didn’t find the hospital, but found my maternal grandfather lived in the west end, (John Archibald Macdonald) just a few blocks from where I now live. Thank-you so much for all the work you have done!

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